Memorial soccer tourney near Glenwood Springs a fitting tribute |

Memorial soccer tourney near Glenwood Springs a fitting tribute

Sean Johnson
Post Independent Intern
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kathy Yost Special to the Post Independent

SPRING VALLEY, Colorado – Taking in the view of Mount Sopris, Dale Johnson watches a large group of high school students battle it out on the soccer field.

Playing the game not just to win the championship but to support a cause in honor of Emily Johnson, his daughter.

Emily Johnson was an avid soccer player who died last year and left behind extraordinary memories. She was an organ donor and planned on continuing her passion for the Save Darfur charity by doing her senior seminar project for it.

The Emily Johnson Play it Forward 3v3 Soccer Tournament was held as a fundraiser over the weekend. The “Field the Heat” tournament was held at Gates Soccer Park on the Colorado Mountain College campus in Glenwood. Players ranging from 8 and under through high school students paid $175 to participate, many getting sponsorships to participate.

All proceeds will go to a pair of scholarships that will be set up starting in the fall in Emily’s name. The first will be for a student whose passion is soccer. The second will go to a student who shows his or her passion through a creative outlet, like art. A portion of the money will be given to Save Darfur.

Darfur is a region in the African country of Sudan where a brutal civil war has devastated much of the country.

Eighteen-year-old Tracy Pihl, a close friend of Emily, represented the “Yeh Hoos” team and was very excited about the turnout of the event. She believed it was a fun recreational day for everyone to support the Johnson family.

“Her love of life, incredible friendliness, and enthusiasm,” Pihl said is how she remembers Emily and her personality.

Dale Johnson believes the tournament was a good way to bring friends and family together and a great reason for everyone involved to remember Emily. He felt the event went very well, and that everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

He is very proud of his daughter. “She inspired a lot of people to do a lot of good things,” Johnson said.

Soccer players occupied three different fields. A booth for Donor Alliance was encouraging individuals to sign up to be a donor, and a very positive atmosphere made up the environment. The participants enjoyed the fun day by having fun in remembrance of Emily.

The Johnson family’s plan is to make the tournament an annual event to raise money for both scholarships and give money to a different charity each year. The first scholarships will be given out next year.

Sheryl Johnson, Emily’s mother, was extremely happy with how the day turned out. It made her day when people who knew Emily came up to her and told her the memories they have of Emily. She was encouraged by how the event provided what Emily enjoyed and stood for.

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